Lately I have been thinking a lot about how the world views perfection. We see glimpses of perceived perfection all of the time - like the beautiful air-brushed faces in magazines or "the perfect family" that is around the corner in our neighborhood. It often feels like we need to do so much more to even become close to these ever-unattainable ideals.
The other day I was reading a lesson from the Joseph Smith manual that we have used for the past two years as the basis of Relief Society and Priesthood lessons and it came to a part where Joseph was talking about how people perceive his imperfections. He was explaining how he is just a person, like all others, and how he is not free from making mistakes. He points out that, "no man lives without fault. Do you think that even Jesus, if He were here, would be without fault in your eyes? His enemies said all manner of evil against Him - they all watched for iniquity in Him." This idea felt like a slap in the face to me. If I would have been on earth at the time of the Savior would I have found fault in a poor, seemingly unschooled, travelling preacher? Would I have been looking to the prominent citizens of the day as my ideal of a perfect life and have missed the true perfection that was found in our Lord when he was on the earth?
A friend recently shared the idea that we should be striving for excellence in this life, not perfection. I know that I need to take a step back and reflect on what true excellence could be in my own life. I can also do better to overlook others' possible flaws and realize that they could be much farther on their journey of excellence than I. I am never going to have airbrushed features or "perfect kids", but I can have a stronger family and a strengthened commitment to the things that really matter.